Music Makes Lives Better’ is Yorkshire Youth and Music’s new slogan, which we feel is fitting for the work we do with children in challenging circumstances. Music is obviously important for human connection the world over; it is a language that is truly universal.

For 2020, we’re going to dig deeper into the reasons why ‘Music Makes Lives Better’, with a new series of articles that look at music from a unique perspective and invite you, our readers, to stop and think about it with us.

Music makes lives better because it can feed and stimulate your imagination or mind’s eye. There’s an old saying “on radio, the pictures are better”, and we think the pictures are better for music too. We admittedly all love music here at Yorkshire Youth and Music – we’ve been learning, listening and creating for a long time – and we know that not everyone is as passionate about music as we are. But we think (and believe) that anyone is free to conjure their own responses to any music or genre; when you listen to music (however you do or can), you make the music your own.

When people talk about music, they often talk about how it makes them feel. We think this is great – but there are many other ways that music can affect us. Music can be about feelings, but it can also be about thoughts, pictures, stories, textures, movement, tastes, smells, mood, atmosphere, even memory. More specifically, it can be about landscapes, real or fantastical, about the ability to fly or to swim underwater, to be warm or cold, in vast or small spaces, about light or dark. Music can evoke weather, or animals, or the earth’s elements. It isn’t necessarily what the composer or performers intended; rather it is your own adventure.

The imagination is a safe place to go on an adventure; you aren’t really standing under a waterfall or being stalked by a tiger, but imagining it is powerful. And the imagination is not right or wrong.

So this year, following on from our Listen of the Month series, we’re going to create a mini-playlist around a theme each month, with three tracks which – for us – suggest this theme.

Here is the playlist, that we have named ‘Sounds like…‘. And the first theme is… (drum roll): Winter!